Autistic Spectrum Condition (Autism)

What is Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC)?

Having an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), also referred to as Autism, means that someone has a different way of understanding other people and the world around them. ASC is a lifelong developmental disorder, not an illness or a disease, so there is no ‘cure’ but there are many ways that difficulties can be managed.

Sussex Partnership is aware of these outside resources for additional help and support. These are not connected with Sussex Partnership and there is no guarantee that you will receive any benefit from these.

Difficulties with communication    

  • Taking what people say literally (thinking people always mean exactly what they say)
  • Not understanding jokes or sarcasm
  • Preferring facts and logic
  • Finding it hard to understand facial expressions, tone of voice and gestures
  • Only feeling comfortable when talking about topics they are interested in
  • Repetitive in what they say

Difficulties with interaction and socialising with other people

  • Not wanting to make eye contact
  • Feeling awkward and not knowing what to say or do in social situations
  • Difficulties making and keeping friends and romantic relationships
  • Preferring to be alone and only doing activities they feel comfortable to do
  • Finding it hard to take turns when playing games
  • Not liking to be touched or comforted by other people
  • Difficulty with seeing things from other people’s point of view

Difficulties with imagination

  • People with ASC can struggle with make believe play or storytelling
  • It can also be hard to imagine what other people might be thinking or feeling

Special interests

  • Having special interests that they invest their time and energy into
  • Becoming very knowledgeable about a specific topic and spending a lot of time involved in the topic

Sensory Differences

People with ASC may be overly sensitive to sounds, smells, touch, pain or light, finding these things uncomfortable, frightening or painful. Some people do not appear sensitive to these things at all.


People with ASC can find change and transition (going from one thing to another) hard, so they prefer familiar and strict routine.

  1. It is important to understand that people with ASC are individuals with thoughts and feelings, talents and strengths just like those without ASC. They deserve the same level of love, care and respect.
  2. ASC is relatively common and it is likely that you know someone who has ASC.
  3. If you have ASC, it can be helpful to let people know what you find hard so they know how best to help and support you.
  4. As everyday life activities can be challenging and cause stress and anxiety, some people find it helpful to learn ways of managing their anxiety. Check the help section on our website for ‘Anxiety’ and ‘Depression’ for top tips, websites and apps.
  5. There are a number of downloadable workbooks and self-help materials you might find useful - have a look at some suggestions below.
  • Everybody is different – a book for young people who have brothers or sisters with autism (Fiona Bleach)
  • Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence (Luke Jackson)
  • It can get better…Dealing with common behaviour problems in young autistic children. A guide for parents and carers (Paul Dickinson and Liz Hannah)
  • Toilet Training for Individuals with Autism and Related Disorders: A comprehensive guide for parents and teachers. (M. Wheeler)
  • George and Sam (Charlotte Moore)
  • From Anxiety to Meltdown: How Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Deal with Anxiety, Experience Meltdowns, Manifest Tantrums, and How You Can Intervene Effectively (Deborah Lipsky)